Devastating photos show historic flood damage after dams fail in Midland, Michigan

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Michigan can't seem to get a break. Thousands of Midland residents were forced to evacuate their homes after days of torrential rainfall caused two dams in Edenville and Sanford to fail, both of which are privately owned. "I think like everyone, it was hard to believe we're in the midst of a 100-year crisis, a global pandemic, and we're also dealing with a flooding event that looks to be the worst in 500 years," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a press conference following the flood. The owners of the dam were first warned of the possibility of such failure in 1999 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which instructed them to increase the capacity of the Edenvill dam's spillway to prevent a devastating flood. The owners ignored subsequent warnings by FERC, and in 2018 the license for the Edenville dam was revoked. After it changed hands in 2004, the new owners argued in court that the "odds of a 'probable maximum flood' event occurring in the next 5 to 10 years is 5 to 10 in one million," according to federal records.

 

Photos by Rusty Young

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